News / Middle East

Saudi Arabia Orders Investigation Into Child Bride Case

Reuters
A Saudi court has ordered an investigation into the marriage of a 12-year-old girl in the south of the conservative kingdom, a local news website reported.
 
The Saudi justice ministry drafted a bill earlier this year that sets 16 years as the minimum age of marriage for girls but allows for exceptions.
 
A ministry spokesman could not be reached for comment but human rights activists have previously said such rules have previously been announced and not subsequently followed.
 
Al-Sabq website reported on Tuesday that a school principal in Samita district in the southeast of the country near the Yemeni border noticed that the fourth-grade girl had not been feeling well, and sent her to a local hospital after finding out she had been married.
 
The report said that a judge had asked police in the area to question the girl's husband and her father about how the marriage had taken place.
 
No details were available on the age of the husband or the circumstances surrounding the marriage, but financial considerations have in the past prompted some Saudi families to wed young daughters to much older men in return for lavish dowries.
 
Saudi Arabia, a patriarchal society that applies an austere version of Sunni Islam, grants fathers guardianship over their daughters, giving them control over who they can marry and when.
 
Many Saudi clerics, including the kingdom's most senior religious figure Grand Mufti Sheik Abdulaziz Al al-Sheik, endorse the practice, subject to restrictions such as ensuring the girl has reached puberty.
 
Cases of child marriage, including brides as young as eight years old, have made headlines in local and international media in recent years, drawing heavy criticism of the conservative U.S. ally.
 
In 2010, the Saudi Human Rights Commission, a government-affiliated group, hired a lawyer to help a 12-year-old divorce her 80-year-old husband.
 
Activists at the time saw the divorce proceedings as a test case that could pave the way for introducing a minimum age for marriage.
 
Saudi Arabia is a signatory of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child, which considers those under the age of 18 as children.

You May Like

Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Accuses Russia of Territorial Incursionsi
X
Zlatica Hoke
August 28, 2014 4:07 AM
Ukraine says a key border town (Novoazovsk) and surrounding areas of in southeastern Ukraine have fallen under the control of Russia's military. President Poroshenko says "Russian troops have actually been brought into Ukraine." Despite repeated denials from Moscow, Ukraine accuses the Kremlin of providing weapons and fighters to separatists in eastern Ukraine, toward the Russian leadership's alleged goal of annexing that strategic territory. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Accuses Russia of Territorial Incursions

Ukraine says a key border town (Novoazovsk) and surrounding areas of in southeastern Ukraine have fallen under the control of Russia's military. President Poroshenko says "Russian troops have actually been brought into Ukraine." Despite repeated denials from Moscow, Ukraine accuses the Kremlin of providing weapons and fighters to separatists in eastern Ukraine, toward the Russian leadership's alleged goal of annexing that strategic territory. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid